Unfortunately, no matter how talented, beautiful, and kind you are, you’re going to find someone who has something bad to say about you. This applies to politicians, actresses, supermodels, humanitarians, and the rest of us. I call these haters “unnecessary antagonists.” The “unnecessary” is there to indicate that you’ve actually done nothing wrong to this person, but have still earned their dislike.
Unnecessary antagonists can become frustrating and can do some damage to your ego if you’re not careful. Regardless of how self-confident you are, hearing negative feedback can make you question yourself. Here are some of the ways in which I handle your garden variety unnecessary antagonist.
- Don’t fight back: When someone is giving you a hard time, it’s tempting to just scream at them and tell them to leave you alone. Unfortunately, many UAs are hoping to get a reaction out of you in order to prove to other people that you are as (insert negative adjective here) as they said you are. You don’t need to kill them with kindness per say, but lashing out will only worsen the situation and give them a reason to drop the “unnecessary” part in their title.
- Don’t be fake: You should be respectful and polite, but there’s no need to go above and beyond to prove that you actually are a sweet and caring person. UAs will hate you for no reason, and no amount of good deeds or kind words can change their mind. Sorry, but it’s the truth.
- Have an honest conversation: Sometimes it becomes appropriate to have a face-to-face conversation with this person about why they’re acting the way they are around you. Maybe the discussion will provide useful information that can help you to resolve the situation. Perhaps the person is mad that you won a promotion and they didn’t, or maybe they have some other reason for their ill will. Being honest can help you find out what’s really going on.
- Create some space: It’s human nature to want everyone to like you. It’s completely normal to get upset when someone hates you, even if they don’t really matter in your life and you know that you’ve done nothing wrong. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to try to win this person over. Spending even more time with them will just make you more frustrated about their lack of appreciation for your wonderful traits. Instead, be respectful and do what you have to do, but avoiding trying to create a real relationship with this person.
How do you deal with an unnecessary antagonist? We all have them. How do you handle the situation?